Monday, September 17, 2012

Influential educators, bloggers and twitterati recognized at the Bammy Awards

What would happen if instead of being bashed, blamed, and scrutinized, educators were lauded, celebrated, and recognized. That is among the goals of what might become the annual Bammy awards.  The Awards aim to foster recognition of excellence in education, encourage collaboration and respect, elevate education and education successes in the public eye, and raise the profile and voices of the many undervalued and unrecognized people who are making a difference in the field.

In what is usually reserved for the actors and athletes of our society, instead, it was us on the red carpet in our flowy gowns and tuxedos who were being treated like movie stars as we were chauffeured in limos where we were photographed by paparazzi, taped, and interviewed as we made our way into the Arena Stage at Kreeger Theater in Washington, DC.
Posing for a picture on the red carpet.
Photo credit: Kevin Jarrett
The Bammys, presented by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences International recognized the importance of those of us who blog and tweet because of our ability to help citizens sort out what deserves attention and provide insightful context. I had the pleasure of being selected as a top 100 education blogger at the first annual event and was honored to be among the top 20 who were called up on stage to be recognized for our role as influential thought leaders. 
Influential educational blogger honorees
Photo credit: Kevin Jarrett
One of the foremost educational leaders in using social media, Eric Sheninger known as Princial Twitter did a terrific job of coordinating the bloggers, micro bloggers and connected educators.  He and Joe Mazza served as presenters who recognized the following educators on stage: Adam Bellow, Angela Maiers, Chris Lehmann, Deven Black, Erin Klein, George Couros, Joe Mazza, Joyce Valenza, Kelly Tenkley, Joan Young, Kyle Pace, Lisa Nielsen, Mary Beth Hertz, Nicholas Provenzano, Patrick Larkin, Shannon Miller, Shelly Blake-Plock, Shelly Terrell, Steven Anderson, and Tom Whitby. You can see all 100 here. You can see us being honored at the event below.
The event gave us an opportunity to rub shoulders, take photos, and most importantly chat with some of the more renowned movers and shakers in education such as John Merrow, Randi Weingarten, Linda Darling-Hammond, and Diane Ravitch who said, "The depth of discouragement among educators in the trenches is at an all-time high and cannot be overstated." The Bammy Awards works to combat such discouragement by recognizing those who vigorously and thoughtfully blog and tweet about education as a very important part of the education community ecosystem. 
Lisa Nielsen, John Merrow, Patrick Larkin
As librarian Deven Black shared on his blog, "It is so outlandish for educators to get red carpet treatment, hear kind words and receive weighty trophies. We have become far more used to being blamed, attacked, criticized, sniped-at and otherwise vilified." Hopefully the Bammys are the first in a movement to bring our nation closer to those like Finland where teachers are trusted, honored, and respected. After all, as Linda Darling-Hammond pointed out, "There is another story we rarely hear: Our children who attend schools in low-poverty contexts are doing quite well. In fact, U.S. students in schools in which less than 10 percent of children live in poverty score first in the world in reading, out-performing even the famously excellent Finns."

Let's not blame educators for a societal issue and instead focus on rewarding one of our nation's most important professions. Educators are being intensely scrutinized, but not as intensely recognized for the great work being done. The Bammy Awards are one such effort to  change this. 
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